Jeff Pearlman

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Death of the black widow

Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 11.55.42 PM

So a few minutes ago, as my dog peed for the final time this evening, I noticed a unique spider in a web outside the house. I flashed my phone on it, and the wife said, “Is that a black widow?”

We did an image search. Yup—black widow.

Shit.

Even though we’ve lived in California for five years, there’s still a lot of nature stuff that confuses me/freaks me out. The occasional snake sighting, for example. Or the regular sounds of coyotes howling as we fall asleep. In New York we’d have skunks and raccoons, but neither species was poisonous or particularly scary.

Black widow spiders? Fucking scary.

So I decided the black widow needed to die. Which brings me no joy, since I usually avoid killing bugs altogether. But these things are poisonous. And dangerous to kids. I returned inside, grabbed one of my sneakers.

“Don’t use that!” Catherine said. “What if the venom gets on the bottom and you spread it.”

I’m not sure that’s possible—but OK. I picked up a cardboard box. “You’re not trapping it, are you?” the wife said.

“What?”

“Trapping it …”

“No.”

I walked outside. Approached the black widow. Took the box and slowly … slowly … slowly …

SLAM!

The black widow is dead.

And I feel guilty.

 

  • Steve Tribou

    Grew up in burbs of Boston, moved to Atlanta 29 years ago, who knew poisonous snakes would be something new to figure out. My wife was bit in the wrist by a copperhead snake 3′ from our back door while pulling a few random weeds. Our, at the time, young children and dog were running around nearby. She drove herself to ER and got treated, from amount of venom they guessed it was a young snake that didn’t know better and shot the whole load into her. Football shaped arm for a few weeks, but no resulting cool super powers unfortunately. Shortly after that incident, I killed two with shovels, learning the guillotine shovel move (thank goodness for a very long handled shovel) has made the difference.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life